What did he mean by those terms?
The world within is one’s mind.
It’s one’s thoughts.
It’s one’s feelings.
As Mr. Haanel wrote, it’s forces are mighty.
The world without, on the other hand, Mr. Haanel described as a “reflection of the world within.”
The world within can alter the world without. It happens all the time. It’s part of the interplay that happens betwixt the two. It’s what I like to call the “Dance.”
There are many examples of the Dance all about us. Sociologists have been investigating it for quite some time, an example being Phillip Zimbardo‘s Stanford Prison Experiment.
Investor George Soros used Karl Popper‘s theory of “Reflexivity” to make more than a billion dollars trading currency. Popper’s reflexivity is an example of the Dance — the world within influencing the world without and vice versa.
The influence of the world without and the world within (and vice versa) is possible because, as Haanel wrote, we “live in a fathomless sea of plastic mind substance.”
Everything that we see and have and that moves us and influences us are ideas.
This world of ideas — this world in which we swim and which in turn moves us — is what Mr. Haanel meant when he wrote “plastic mind substance.” Think how often the world is changed by an idea — an idea brought to fruition by one’s actions and daring.
The car …
… the light bulb …
… the indoor toilet …
… the computer …
… the cellular phone …
… Each and every idea that in turn changed us and changed the world in which we “swim.”
Be the change by reading great books because they change you and you change the world.